|Tue Apr 3 2007 12:11:25|
Current Affairs: The eBay/Online-Auction Industry
By: Ina Steiner
Random notes on the eBay/online-auction industry.
I went to the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst meeting last month, where Amazon was the star of the show - they are using high-volume eBay sellers to drop-ship products, and at the show, Patrick Byrne announced a similar program for Overstock.
As Gotham City Online founder Jonathan Garriss pointed out during a phone call, these programs are good for generating revenue, but are not the solution to building a brand. Sellers must think about the issue of, "who owns the customer?" With drop-ship programs from Amazon.com and Overstock.com, sellers don't own the customer, the marketplace does.
eBay is focused on the buyer experience this year, and Feedback 2.0 and SMI are two big issues. Trust & Safety - including enforcement - remains another big issue for sellers.
The biggest challenge for all online sellers may be increasing postage rates. In the US, rates are going up in May, and they went up this month in the UK. It remains to be seen if buyers will be turned off by the total higher cost of online items. Seems likely to vary by category (media sellers will be hard-hit by the new rates).
I'm still waiting to hear from Amazon if and when they will adjust the postage reimbursement for sellers. They charge buyers the full shipping cost, and only forward on a portion to sellers (which is not made clear to the buyers).
We're conducting a survey on how sellers are preparing for the rate change, please take a moment to participate, we'll publish results in a future issue. There are some great comments on the blog post about this issue, keep them coming.